Jesuit High School's Tommy Pham '18 has been selected as a prestigious QuestBridge Scholar, and he will receive a full four-year scholarship to the University of Notre Dame.
Fewer than 1,000 high school seniors nationwide in the Class of 2018 were chosen as QuestBridge Scholars, from more than 15,000 applicants.
"I'm very blessed to have received the scholarship," Pham said. "It will not only fund the next four years of my college education, but it will also open many pathways and opportunities for me in college."
Founded at Stanford University and expanded over the last 15 years to now include 39 of the most selective colleges and universities in the nation, QuestBridge provides a college match and full scholarships to exceptional students from lower-income backgrounds.
"Tommy truly personifies our Jesuit mission," said Fernando Rodrigues, Jesuit's Director of College Counseling. "He does not look for accolades, nor does he wait until he is directed to know what is right. He is simultaneously one of the most motivated students I have seen and one of the most considerate and thoughtful.
"Attending Notre Dame through QuestBridge will allow him to continue to inspire those around him."
The program matches top students with acclaimed universities such as Chicago, Dartmouth, Duke, MIT, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Penn, Princeton, Vanderbilt, Virginia, and Yale.
"Earning the QuestBridge scholarship revealed to me that no matter what circumstances people are born with, it is always possible to attain success if you put your heart, mind, and soul into all that you do," Pham said. "Despite financial obstacles, I developed an intrinsic drive to grow as a student and as an individual, along with a passion for helping those who face similar obstacles."
Pham had a stellar junior year academically, earning First Honors (the highest average in the class) in two of his courses during the spring semester: AP Seminar (which is the first year of the AP Capstone program) with Mr. Austin Freeman, and Christian Morality with Mr. Chris Ragusa.
He earned Second Honors this past spring in two additional classes: AP Calculus AB with Mr. Corey Perich, and Spanish 3 Honors with Mr. Juan Cruz.
Pham is one of 14 Jesuit students in his class to test in the 99th percentile on the PSAT. He also is an altar server, NHS tutor, and member of SADD, Peer Ministry, Key Club, and the Pro-Life Club. Last summer he participated in Boys State in Tallahassee and served at the week-long MDA Camp in Brandon, and the summer before he traveled to Jasper, Ga. as part of Jesuit's annual Appalachia Mission Trip in service to that community.
The QuestBridge application process is extensive. The 15,000 applicants are narrowed down to about 3,000 finalists, who then submit additional supplements to six colleges. In the end, Pham was one of 918 nationwide chosen for the honor.
"Although my test scores and overall academic record definitely contributed to my application, I believe that my inherent motivation for service and a higher education led to my selection in the matching process," Pham said.
Click here for more information about the QuestBridge program.